93/02/24 News Conference with Israeli Prime Minister (Jerusalem)  Return to: Index of 1993 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

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U.S. Department of State
93/02/24 News Conference with Israeli Prime Minister
Office of the Spokesman

Excerpts from opening statements 
at a joint news conference by 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher 
Israeli Prime Minister Rabin

February 24, 1993

Prime Minister Rabin:  The Secretary of State of the United States, his 
colleagues, ladies and gentlemen of the media.  We more than appreciate 
the decision of President Clinton and the Secretary of State to have the 
first visit of the Secretary of State after President Clinton took the 
office of the President of the United States to come to the Middle East 
with the purpose to bring about the resumption of the peace 

I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, the discussions, the 
talks that were held now in Israel, no doubt will serve as a landmark in 
the relationship between our two countries, in the efforts to invigorate 
the peace negotiations and to bring their resumption.  I believe that 
during the visit of the Secretary of State here in Israel,  I had the 
opportunity and the pleasure to have talks, deep to the issues, and I 
hope that . . . we succeeded to establish special relations--relations 
of friendship, understanding, and [candor]. 

I believe that in the talks that were held here, we discussed a variety 
of issues:  first and foremost, what has to be done to bring about the 
resumption of the peace negotiations, how to make sure that once they 
will be resumed, they lead in 1993 to results--results that I believe 
all the peoples, all the countries of this region expect them to 
achieve.  It is to say to have a breakthrough that will lead to peace 
between Israel and its neighboring countries and the Palestinians.

I hope and I believe that the visit of the Secretary of State, not only 
to Israel but also to the other capitals of the Arab countries that are 
directly involved in the peace negotiations . . . will create a new 
atmosphere in the region, an atmosphere that will be conducive to bring 
about more meaningful peace negotiations. We have discussed at length 
the special relations between the United States and Israel, and there's 
no doubt in my mind that these relations will be developed and 
strengthened in the interest of the two countries.  And no doubt, this 
development will bring about and will facilitate many things that we, 
together, try to achieve in this region.

Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your patience, your readiness to 
listen, to travel, to see.  I believe that we put on you quite a burden 
of work during the two days that you stay[ed] in Israel.  Allow me 
through you to send my thanks and congratulation to President Clinton 
about his decision to give such a high priority to solve the 
difficulties that prevent[ed] until now the achievement of the peace 
negotiations.  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

Secretary Christopher:  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for those very 
warm words.  I've just concluded the last of my meetings here in 
Jerusalem, and let me say I've tremendously enjoyed my stay here.  The 
detailed discussions that I've had with the Prime Minister, the Foreign 
Minister, and their colleagues were serious and productive and very 
helpful to me.  I've had three separate meetings with the Prime 
Minister, and he and his wife were gracious enough to host me and my 
delegation last night for dinner. And all in all, it was a splendid time 
for me.

Over these last 3 days, we have strengthened and deepened the special 
relationship between our two nations. On a personal note, as the Prime 
Minister so generously said, I am pleased that we've developed a close 
and personal relationship.  I know that President Clinton is looking 
forward to greeting Prime Minister Rabin in Washington in the very near 
future and looking forward to that development of a similar 
relationship.  The relationship that the Prime Minister and I have 
established is symbolic of the friendship between our two nations--a 
friendship that's based upon deep and enduring interest, shared values, 
and common interests.  My stay here was all too short, but it did give 
me an opportunity to learn just a little bit about the rich history of 
this ancient land and to feel a sense of the dynamism of the modern, 
vibrant democracy.

In my visit to Yad Vashem, I was reminded again of the extraordinary 
uniqueness of the Jewish state.  And this morning in my visit to 
northern Israel, I was again reminded that the Jewish state continues to 
face very substantial security challenges.  It's high time for Israel to 
be able to enjoy the acceptance of its neighbors in the security that 
comes from having a just and lasting peace.  I know that the people of 
Israel yearn for that day, and I know that the Israeli Government is 
doing all that [it] can to achieve it.

After visiting with the leaders of the significant parties to the 
negotiations, I have a very real sense that all the parties want the 
negotiations to succeed.  They want them to resume and succeed at an 
early date, and they agree that they should redouble their efforts to 
that end.  I've also had in the last 2 days serious and thoughtful 
discussions with the Palestinians.  The Palestinian representatives with 
whom I spoke emphasized their commitment to seek peace with Israel, and 
they expressed their understanding of the stake that they have in 
seeking that peace.  I leave the Middle East hopeful but cognizant that 
there still are obstacles--obstacles that will have to be overcome.  But 
I sense among all the parties that they want to seek and make peace.  If 
that translates into an early resumption of the peace talks, as I hope 
it will, the United States stands ready to be a full partner.  Before I 
left Washington, I said that I was coming to the region to learn, to 
find the facts, to get to know the leaders in this area.   I have 
accomplished far more in that sense than I'd expected, and I've had 
substantive discussions far deeper than I'd anticipated.

This is a region that has known too much war and too much violence in 
its past.  The parties are at a historic crossroad.  This is an 
opportunity which I hope all the parties will embrace, and we'll do our 
part to help them in that regard.  Thank you very much.